York U professors awarded federal grants for air pollution research

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A pair of York University professors have been awarded a combined total of nearly half a million dollars from the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) for projects related to air pollution, from both scientific and artistic perspectives.

Ali Abdul-Sater, an associate professor in the Faculty of Health, received $250,000, and Mark-David Hosale, an associate professor in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, received $248,428 from the NFRF’s Exploration Grants, which fund high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research.

Ali Abdul-Sater and Mark-David Hosale
Pictured, left to right: Ali Abdul-Sater and Mark-David Hosale.

Abdul-Sater’s project, “Investigating the effects of emerging chemical mixtures associated with air pollution on immune-related diseases,” will study the potentially worsening effects that new types of pollutants from chemicals in tires and brakes, pesticides and household products are having on inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. The project is in collaboration with Samar Moussa and John Liggio, research scientists at Environment & Climate Change Canada. Abdul-Sater’s co-applicant was York U biologist Gary Sweeney in the Faculty of Science.

Hosale’s project, “SensingChange: Black carbon air pollution detection and critical artworks,” will study airborne black carbon pollution by combining art, science and engineering to create new sensors on wearable devices that can detect the invisible particulate matter. Part of the project will include public art events where people can wear the sensors and learn more about the pollution levels in their area. Hosale’s project is in collaboration with several York researchers, including: Gerd Grau (his co-applicant) and Mark Gordon in the Lassonde School of Engineering; Joel Ong in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design; and Enamul Prince in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

The York U research projects were among 133 projects from universities across Canada to receive NFRF’s Exploration Grants, announced last month.

For a full list of awardees, visit the Government of Canada website.